Your chance to pick a personality to forget

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The Independent Online
Yes, it's coming to the end of 1995, so it is time to vote in our annual, alternative Non-Personality of the Year contest again. All you have to do is vote for the person who you think has contributed most to making 1995 a year you would rather forget about.

So, obviously that leaves out Nelson Mandela, but it still leaves in everyone else - Will Carling, the Princess of Wales, Richard Branson, John Major, the entire government of Nigeria and many other excellent candidates.

Previous winners, don't forget, have included Jeffrey Archer, Peter Mayle, Paul Gascoigne and Virginia Bottomley, so do not vote for them again this year - unless you feel particularly vindictive.

Here is a list of this year's leading candidates, with a brief resume of their qualities to give you an idea of the kind of person we are hoping to make our Non-Personality of the Year.

Brian Mawhinney

The Vinnie Jones of politics. The hard man of the right. The Norman Tebbit de nos jours. The player the Tories send on to cripple the opposition. The man who appears on the media at the first sign of adult political argument to put a stop to it. He likes to call himself doctor, so that at scenes of accidents he can barge his way through, shouting, "Let me through, I'm the chairman of the Tory Party!" and trample the injured person to death. The man who, many Tories fear, will lead to another Tory election victory if not stopped.

John Lennon

People who say that Paul McCartney was the soft, wimpish one of the Beatles obviously never listened to any of the slush that Lennon recorded in his last dozen years. Nor did they listen to the Beatles' new single, which was a heartless posthumous practical joke played by the three survivors on Lennon, though not very funny in any other way.

The Pope

If the definition of a dirty old man is a rather sad and lonely figure with an overwhelming interest in other people's sex lives and an urge to interfere in them, then the Pope is the ultimate dirty old man. He is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, a quaintly old-fashioned religious organisation in which priests cannot marry but are allowed to interfere with little children.

Lord Lucan

The longest-running aristocrat on the run. Or not, as the case may be.

Nick Leeson

Leeson is well in the running for the Businessman of the Year award on the grounds that he took on and bankrupted his own bank, which is a thing all of us from time to time have longed to do and none of us has ever managed.

Ian Paisley

Not the power for evil that he once was, but still a potent reminder that you do not have to be Iranian to be a power-hungry ayatollah. In 1978, Dervla Murphy described (in her book on Northern Ireland, A Place Apart) how she attended a service given by Paisley in Belfast and how, after an hour and a half of listening to "this demented figure", she left the church and "knew I had been in the presence of pure evil". No one has ever quite replaced Paisley on this Satanic level.

Janet Street-Porter

As Eddie Izzard gets more soft and feminine, Street-Porter goes the other way. It is said that there are no jobs for life any more - in Street- Porter's case there just seem not to be any jobs any more, except acting in documentaries about her losing her job. She made a famous speech in Edinburgh in 1995 and no one can remember a thing she said in it. Not her year in some ways.

Eddie Izzard

Izzard once said that he would not go on TV and do his jokes. Now he is on TV chat shows all the time, but all credit to him - he has kept to his word and never does any of his jokes.

Duncan Ferguson

This is the Everton footballer who was sent to prison for striking an opponent and thus messed up the whole Fantasy Football season, because no one knew how well he was performing for the prison team and if he was scoring any goals.

Is there anyone YOU would like to nominate for Non-Personality of the Year? Just let us know on a postcard (only use e-mail if you are nominating Bill Gates).

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